An understated dreadnought built with granadillo and Adirondack spruce.
by Teja Gerken
February 24, 2020
With their vintage-style construction, high-quality materials, and great attention to detail, Preston Thompson guitars have become popular instruments among acoustic musicians in many styles. And while the company offers flattops of all common sizes, Thompson’s dreadnoughts in particular have found resonance with flatpicking guitarists. We recently had a chance to check out a D-GA model. In this video, Peghead Nation’s Scott Nygaard and I demonstrate the instrument.
Thompson Guitars is fundamentally a custom shop, and the company’s models are available in a wide range of woods. The D-GA in this demo was built with granadillo back and sides and an Adirondack spruce top. Popular with classical guitar makers, granadillo is sometimes compared with Indian rosewood, but the bell-like quality of Brazilian rosewood also frequently comes up when the wood is described. On the Thompson, the granadillo was beautifully straight grained, somewhat light in color, and very attractive all around. The Adirondack spruce used for the top also appeared to be of very high quality. The guitar combined some different Martin-style appointments, including herringbone purfling, slotted diamonds and squares position markers in the ebony fingerboard, a style-28 rosette, and a dalmation pickguard. Naturally, the construction, fit-and-finish, and setup of the guitar was superb.
The Thompson D-GA was a powerful guitar with a large tonal range. It offered great clarity and note definition when Scott played it with a flatpick, but also had enough of a sensitive response to a lighter touch when I played it fingerstyle. Overall, it had great rosewood dreadnought vibe, and its soft-V neck profile felt like an excellent compromise between vintage and contemporary shapes.
With its great tone and playability, the D-GA delivers the goods, and players who prefer a relatively understated appearance over elaborate appointments or exotic-looking woods will take a quick liking to this wonderful example of the fine guitars coming out of the Thompson shop.
SPECS: 14-fret dreadnought body. Adirondack spruce top with pre-war scalloped, advanced-X Adirondack bracing. Granadillo back and sides. Mahogany neck. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 25.4-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. 2⁵/₁₆-inch string spacing at the saddle. Waverly relic tuning machines. Made in the USA. $7,210. Pktguitars.com
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